This is another thing for which we have Thomas Keller to thank. I'd also love to thank him for the mind-and-belly altering meal that was elegant, weird, bizarre and wacky all at the same time that we had the night we got engaged at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. It was pretty unreal.
But this is also pretty wonderful. And a bit more accessible :)
A ladyfriend pointed me towards this recipe when we were trying to decide what to make ourselves for dinner one night. We were pretty sure it knocked our socks off but there was a lot of champagne happening that night and most everything we said and did seemed pretty magical that night. So I made it a week later when Mr. Wood got back from his trip and it was confirmed--this is utterly wonderful and beautifully simple.
Everyone loves a roasted chicken and I feel like I've heard as many "secrets" to the perfect one as people who have made one. I've heard smothering it in mayonnaise is the only way to a crispy skin; I've heard that you have to stuff it with xy&z for it to be flavorful; and on and on. I think all those are good--but this one--this is the best one I've ever had. That is a true statement. And you do so little. The secret seems to be just raining generous amounts of salt inside and out and cooking it in dry heat at 400 degrees. I thought it was so strange that you cook it at such a high temperature for so long and it doesn't dry out--but I swear, yall--it doesn't. It's actually a moment of kitchen magic because it is so. Moist. I will say that last time we broiled it for a few minutes once it was done baking to get a richer color and a crispier skin.
He suggests you slather it with unsalted butter so we did that this time. Twist my arm. It's also totally delicious without.
I've made this once a week for the last month and it's been basically the same: this gorgeous roasted organic chicken with quality dijon on the side for dipping, and a lemon and olive-oil arugula salad. Sometimes we'll have a quinoa something-or-other on the side and this time we had Spicy Cumin Roasted Carrots (cumin, cayenne and olive oil) but you really don't need it. This juicy chicken only needs a bright, peppery salad for the meal to feel complete. Once we're done eating, we strip the rest of the meat for sandwiches and salads during the week and make a stock from the bones. And out of that, a soup later in the week (usually of the bean variety but most recently of the cauliflower variety). I'm not prone to routines of any kind--in that I have almost never ever in my life had one--but this has been so nice having such a productive, easy, fairly inexpensive regular event in our week. Plus you feel like you're in your very own french bistro which is a feeling I can get used to.
Are you sold or what?? The recipe is here--don't skip the trussing part! He does a good job explaining it and it seems to really make a big difference.